Lies… We all lie at some point either voluntarily or involuntarily and regardless of our intentions, whether good or bad. Lies are usually seen as something bad or immoral, sometimes as a patch that seeks to temporarily seal a problem that is likely to get bigger with time. Every action has consequences, and lies are no exception… What is the cost of lies?
“I’m not going to lie to you”, I’ve been inspired to make this post thanks to the new HBO miniseries about Chernobyl, in which we can see besides a fantastic production, direction and writing, how a lie can literally turn into a death sentence for thousands and a latent threat for tens of millions… I don’t want to turn this into a political post, even though we might touch on the subject of “Politicians and Lies” later on. The point is, a lie can be used for evil motives, to cause disasters, for any immoral things in which a lie can be used.
But on the other hand, the lie itself is not intrinsically bad. Like in almost all human behavior, the most important thing is not the behavior itself, but the intention behind each act. I mentioned earlier that all human beings lie, perhaps more than we imagine… We lie to ourselves either because of cognitive dissonance or in order not to leave our comfort zone, we lie to impress someone, we exaggerate things being this another form of lie, we lie involuntarily due to not remembering things clearly, we lie to harm others, to get a job, we lie even in order not to harm loved ones.
In short… There is a whole range of reasons and situations for which we can lie, so it is something that is part of our day to day and as such something that we must learn to deal with, trying to be as harmless as possible or as honest as possible is a great option, it is easier said than done of course, but even if this is achieved, there will always exist involuntary lies or situations where ironically you see as something more moral the fact of lying than telling the truth… An example of this, if a child shows you a drawing and it turns out that the drawing is horrifying… But you don’t want to make him feel bad and therefore you lie to him.
Saving yourself problems may be another of these situations, but here morality depends on what actions led to these situations and the consequences of the same… Doing a scan of what is right and wrong in the “Kingdom of Lies” can easily lead us to think that pious lies or “White Lies” which are those well-intentioned lies that seek to save someone else worries and problems or simply not hurt their feelings could be considered “Good”… They could, of course, there will always be people, including myself who in the personal realm we prefer to be told the truth no matter how brutal, bad, hopeless, harmful or annoying it may be… But it depends on each individual.
The Psychology of Lies is something really fascinating… And at the same time that we often think about the risks of being “honest” and what this may represent depending on the circumstances, we often don’t think very deeply about the risks of being a “liar”… And what this might cause. We are talking about betraying people’s trust, honesty is a moral value after all, in many occasions lies feed on other lies, we start rumors which are uncontrollable and can cause a lot of damage, and so on… In other words, we can get used to and enter a cycle, we can end up creating a monster that we cannot control.
Much of the above can be attributed to all types of lies other than “pious” lies because they are not justified in benevolent intentions, these lies can be broken promises, those that only seek self-interest regardless of the consequences, exaggeration, deceit, self-deceit, exaggeration or even plagiarism itself. All these types of lies are destructive and immoral in the vast majority of cases, if not all.
It is normal to see lies in the media, the so-called “Half Truths” that are nothing more than a cowardly way of creating a lie by manipulating the truth for convenience. We can see politicians lying here and there to get as many votes as possible or making a management as dishonest as possible. We can see how governments or other organizations respond to marked interests and do not shake their pulse to manipulate, hide and crush the truth at their convenience and at the same time silence those who seek to expose the whole truth.
It often seems that we live in a world where lying is much cheaper than being honest. That is a truly sad thing, and although the answer to “What is the cost of lies” turns out to be something entirely subjective that is quite influenced by the situation and its possible consequences, apparently from a general point of view, lies cost less than honesty, yet they do more harm… But of course, the problem is when the person who lies does not receive the consequences, Like the Politicians.
Life is a gray scale and as such, “good” things will be in “bad” things and “bad” things will be in “good” things, although we can use the lie for good as I have already explained, it is also true that the truth can be used for “evil”, the truth can also do great harm, there are even situations where telling the truth is not the most convenient at that time… This can range from a simply “You’re ugly” to hiding a terminal illness from a loved one for fear of causing a collapse or any other health problem. Sometimes lies can be useful if we know how to manage them and if our intentions are positive, however, always have a cost, like any action that has a consequence. Thank you for reading… Peace